Dance First

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“Dance first. Think later.  It’s the natural order.” 

Samuel Becket

A dancer uses his or her body to express emotions, feelings and moods. Body language  can be exaggerated and a dancer uses the body as an instrument to explore and express ideas. But can  you act out your problem, design, or express your feelings in a dance?

Interpretative dance  can include styles ranging from ballet to break dancing. Way one to use interpretative dance has been used in a contest where PhD students dance their PhD thesis. Also  you can dance to explain statistical concepts – Dancing Statistics. The importance for the thinking process to change medium is discussed in this blog post Extracting Concepts – Change the Medium.

Dance is one way to help us overcome a fear of expressing our emotions. Movements help stimulate us to express ourselves and to feel the joy of moving around.  Discovering the emotion when you watch a dance performance is something that has been studied by Peter Lovatt. Peter trained in ballet, tap and jazz, and worked as a professional dancer before embarking on studies in psychology. He says that dancing can transform the way we think and solve problems. Different sorts of dancing help with different sorts of problem solving. Improvisation helps with divergent thinking where there are multiple answers to a problem. A structured dance may help when you are looking for a single solution to a problem.

Dance can also be used as a tool for enhancing a group’s consciousness about the situation. Dancing may help to create a common vision and build mutual support.

But what about the ability to keep a beat? Is that something that is a skill that you are either born with or not? Can you train yourself to find the beat? And can other animals apart from humans keep the beat. In the videos below the idea that keeping the beat is a human ability is questioned.

Videos of dancing animals may be common, yet the question remains whether the animals are really hearing the music and keeping a beat. Maybe they are just moving around.

In the video below you can watch the  bobbing head of a captured sea-lion to “Boogie Wonderland” (please note, while we do not condone the practice of confining animals, we thought that this research project adds to the understanding of animal behavior and we decided to include it).

In the next video, you can see the  cockatoo “Snowball”  dancing to “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys. Snowballs adjust his dance moves when the song slows  down or speeds up. That flexibility is regarded as a key to determining whether animals can follow a melody like we can.

Synchronous among fireflies are common, some fireflies flash synchronously. However, this is something different where the animals has to synchronize to a beat. Young children, around the age of four to five can do this if the tempo is close to their preferred tempo. As they grow older the can synchronize to different tempo. One hypothesis is that synchronization plays a role in social bonding. We feel connected emotionally and socially when we move in synchrony

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